You can't stop the waves


The Taoist Yin Yang symbol incorporates two intertwined snakes, one white and one black and the eyes of these snakes contain the opposite colour, i.e. the white snake has a black eye and the black snake has a white eye.


The Yin Yang symbol is static, but implies tremendous and continuous flux between order and chaos. Everything in this world is on this continuum between control and out of control. Nothing will ever be perfect because, like the snake's eye, it contains the seed of the opposite.


An infantile approach to life, when things are not perfect is to have a hissy fit – a temper tantrum and spit the dummy. When things are not going your way, when others disagree with you, when you rub up against ideas you don't like, you could scream, smash a few things and start calling people names.


If you step back for a moment, before soiling your pants, you will see that nothing is ever perfect forever. Imagine you have just spent a full day of your precious time carefully mowing the lawns and manicuring the gardens. From the very second you finish the lawn and gardens will do their natural thing and start changing, and within a short period of time, you have to apply control again to balance the increasing chaos.


I realised a long time ago it is better to embrace the change and the image of the surfer represents this well. The waves are the continuous ups and downs of life – you can't stop them, nor do you want to, because then there will be nothing to ride and no fun. The idea is to learn how to skilfully ride the waves. At first you will not be able to stand up for more than a few seconds. With practice you get better, and eventually you actually enjoy the waves and actively seek out bigger ones for more of a thrill.


If we bring all this back to Yoga practice, then our mat is the surfboard and the asana are the waves. The skill, understanding and expertise we gain learning how to ride the postures carries over into all other aspects of our lives.


And like the garden, the moment we finish our practice, the need to do another practice arises.


Hatha Yoga – any style of yoga that incorporates asana, contains this control / out of control dichotomy. Ha = Sun and Tha = Moon and is pretty much the same concept as Yin Yang.


Learn to see your practice as an opportunity to cultivate your personal garden, to gain the skills to ride the waves of life, and to bring balance into the world. It is a journey not a destination.




James E. Bryan E.R.Y.T. 500


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